College Basketball Daily Fantasy Helper: Tuesday 1/8/19
College basketball season is back! And this year, with it comes the return of college basketball DFS.
March Madness is still two months away, but you can get in all the college hoops hype by playing daily contests at FanDuel today. If you've played NBA DFS before, it's quite simple: pick a total of eight players -- four guards, three forwards and one utility spot you can use for either position. Stay within the $50,000 salary cap and field the team you think will score the most fantasy points.
Where scoring differs from NBA is in the blocks and steals categories, with each worth two FanDuel points apiece rather than the three you get in daily NBA contests.
Now that you're in the know, we can attack today's main slate, which locks at 7:00 p.m. EST and includes 12 games. Each and every one of them is an in-conference matchup, ultimately highlighted by an ACC clash between #12 North Carolina and #15 North Carolina State.
|Tuesday, January 8th|
|#24 St. John's at Villanova|
|Texas at Oklahoma State|
|Maryland at Minnesota|
|#20 Iowa State at Baylor|
|#1 Duke at Wake Forest|
|Texas A&M at #18 Kentucky|
|#3 Tennessee at Missouri|
|Alabama at LSU|
|#23 Oklahoma at #8 Texas Tech|
|Purdue at #6 Michigan State|
|#12 North Carolina at #15 North Carolina State|
|#14 Mississippi State at South Carolina|
Which players should you be targeting, and why?
R.J. Barrett, Duke ($8,800): Even beyond the fact that this is Duke and their top-flight freshmen, this is the most obvious smash spot on the slate. Wake Forest ranks 216th in defense, per KenPom.com, and come in as the least efficient defense of the 24 teams in action. As a result, Duke's 89.5 implied total is also a slate-high and exceeds six of their actual point totals to date. Why Barrett though? For starters, he's $400 cheaper than teammate Zion Williamson ($9,200). He's averaging 3.1 fewer FanDuel points per game, yet that's been largely held down by his last two games, in which he's managed just 19.1 and 29.8 FanDuel points. Prior to that, he posted four straight games of 41.7 or more, giving him five over 40 and 10 of at least 30. His floor is high, and a team-high 33.7% usage gives him an unlimited ceiling from his guard spot.
Phil Booth, Villanova ($7,500): Possibly getting lost in the shuffle of the three ACC teams at the top, the Villanova Wildcats have a very respectable 76.75 implied total as they play host to the St. John's Red Storm. That total would be 2.45 points above their season average and higher than their output in 9 of their 15 games this season. The reason is simple: St. John's is one of the worst defenses on the slate, ranking 87th in efficiency and allowing 71.9 points per game -- the result of having allowed 76 or more in six games this year. As for Booth, he's producing bigger numbers of late, averaging 34.1 FanDuel points over his last four, compared to 26.5 for the year and 21.8 for his previous four. His 25.6% usage leads the team, and his 22.7% assist rate has resulted in 3.5 assists per game (4.8 over the last four). He's the focal point of an offense that should pile up the points Tuesday night.
Markell Johnson, NC State ($6,100): This is the evening's most fantasy-friendly environment given the two teams' 171.0-point over/under for their tilt in Raleigh. Both squads are in the top 14 in Ken Pom's adjusted tempo, and their offenses rank 12th or better in efficiency. So it's very shocking to see Johnson's price down following a 28.3 FanDuel point game off the bench against Miami. Starter or not, the junior guard has scored 20-plus points in three games, which has played a part in six games exceeding tonight's salary-implied total (24.4). He's even gone for 42.8 FanDuel points in a game last month. Better yet, this is the type of high-scoring up-and-down game a scorer like Johnson should thrive in. But given his inconsistent minutes, he's best kept to tournaments only.
Kenny Williams, North Carolina ($5,700): On the other side of this game, UNC boasts a deep squad, but Williams is one of three players averaging at least 25 minutes a game. At 26.3 per, he's turned that into 18.9 FanDuel points per game, but prior to last game, he had at least 21.6 in three straight and in six of seven. He's had a handful of games over 20, including five where he's dished out at least five assists. That should play well in a game that sets up well for heavy guard play, as the Wolfpack have gone with three-to-four-guard lineups quite frequently.
Tevin Mack, Alabama ($5,100): Alabama/LSU is going to go overlooked on this slate, and it really shouldn't. The 152.0-point over/under is the fourth-highest on the slate, providing each team with an implied total of at least 73 points, which is where the Tide current sit. The Tigers are 84th in defense and have given up 74 or more points in six games, including three of at least 80 and two of 90-plus. Last game out, Mack turned 29 minutes into 22 points and 27.5 FanDuel points in a win over Kentucky. He's now started six straight games and has averaged 12.3 points in those starts. His shot appears to be back, and if he's given 25-plus minutes again a 20-point night isn't out of the realm of possibilities.
Jordan Murphy, Minnesota ($8,300): If you find value or completely punt a spot, no one can fault you for going with Zion or Tennessee's Grant Williams ($9,100). But given the lack of legitimate low-cost players getting minutes, Murphy can get you that same upside at a considerable discount. The Minnesota big man is coming off a tough game (18.7 FanDuel points) on the road at Wisconsin, but he's still averaging 34.8 FanDuel points, or 4.19 points per $1,000 at this price. He has notched nine double-doubles on the year with three games of three or more blocks. That combination has given him five games over 40 FanDuel points as he's maxed out at 58.2 at home a few weeks back. In fact, he's averaging 39.8 FanDuel points in his eight home games this season. With his team favored by 1.5 with a 71.75 total, that shouldn't change tonight.
PJ Washington, Kentucky ($7,700): The young Wildcats are returning home after three straight road games, the last of which resulted in a two-point loss to 'Bama. They need a win, and a matchup with Texas A&M shouldn't present too much resistant. As 13.5-point home favorites, Kentucky is implied at 80 points versus an Aggies team ranked 90th in adjusted defensive efficiency. Washington should play a big part, as he's come on since his December 8th breakout against Seton Hall. Dating back to that game, the sophomore has averaged 34.1 FanDuel points over 32.2 minutes a game in those five, having tallied double-digit points in three and seven or more rebounds in five. Now getting the green light, look for Washington to be one of Tuesday's best point-per-dollar plays.
Naz Reid, LSU ($6,400): On the favored LSU side of the SEC showdown in Baton Rouge, star freshman Naz Reid is fresh off a great game as he posted 38.4 FanDuel points and a double-double over Louisiana-Monroe. This is a step up in competition, but Reid has put together 13 or more points in four of the last five games (all starts) in spite of being hit with four fouls in three of them. Foul issues have kept his minutes down for long stretches this year, but when he's been given the opportunity he's been able to put up numbers. In fact, he's two games removed from a 14-point game in which he played 27 minutes in a win over a strong Saint Mary's club. Just don't go crazy in cash; Reid is a tournament-only play at this point. Tennessee's Kyle Alexander ($6,500) would be the preferred alternative in cash.
Saddiq Bey, Villanova ($4,800): While paying for Booth is more obvious, targeting the 'Nova frontcourt isn't out of the question either. And instead of opting for the more costly Eric Paschall ($7,500), Saddiq Bey is a cheap way to get exposure to the Wildcats' total. Plus, the 6'8" freshman has played 28 or more points off the bench in five straight, averaging 16.9 FanDuel points per game in that span, despite a 6.2-point dud last time out against Providence. He needs just 19.2 points to reach value -- a number he has hit in each of the five games he's scored in double-figures.
Brett Oswalt is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Brett Oswalt also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username BRO14THEKID. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.